Kavala is the capital of the prefecture of Kavala and the second largest city in northern Greece (after Thessaloniki).
Founded in the 6th century BC and then was named Neapolis, which means new city. It is located right across from the town of Limenas in Thassos island, and was first established by colonists from Thassos. At that time it was the port of the former Macedonian capital Philipi.
Neapolis had the status of a Roman city, and from it Brutus and Cassius went to a battle of Philip. And the Apostle Paul landed at Kavala just after arriving in Europe 49 AD when he came to preach Christianity.
The Kavala was under Ottoman rule for nearly six centuries (until the 20th century) and the sultan Bayezid I had Kavala completely destroyed and uprooted its population in the 14th century. The city was rebuilt in the late nineteenth century. The Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha (better known from the series Suleiman the Magnificent, then the history books) in the sixteenth century, built a large aqueduct which is the symbol of Kavala today. Ibrahim Pasha is originally from Kavala and did a lot for the development and prosperity of the city.
Kavala was freed by Greek navy during the First Balkan War in 1913. After that, the city has experienced a new energy from the arrival of a number of Greek refugees from Asia Minor after population exchange with Turkey. Industry (especially tobacco processing) and agriculture around the city started growing.
In the late 1950s the city expanded to the area obtained by draining the sea west of the port.
Kavala has about 80000 inhabitants, mostly of Greek ethnicity which was not always the case. In the nineteenth century the majority of the population were Turks.
Today, coming to Kavala you can feel a strange combination of a large city and the peaceful seaside town, the compound of the Christian and Islamic culture, especially in the old town, and there are narrow cobbled streets with old houses and modern buildings and cafes, sea, beach, beautiful sunsets, luxurious yachts and small fishing boats ...
Kavala has the shape of an amphitheater which stretches from the harbor to the fortress on the highest hill on one side and mountain Simvolo on the other side. Kavala is a white town with white buildings and one recalls the large snowflake and is one of the most picturesque cities in Greece.
Kavala, among other things, due to its location is a great choice for summer. Because it is a larger city, it does not offer the possibility of lodging on the beach in the center of what many of our visitors are used to. So there is no that famous exit from the room and directly on the beach, which is right outside the hotel, but Kavala offers much more content than other small tourist village along the Greek coast.
Kavala is located 170km from Thessaloniki and 42km from Thassos or an hour and fifteen minutes away by ferry.
Kavala is a dynamic city that lives throughout the year. It is full of traditional tavernas and restaurants, trendy bars and clubs, pastry chefs, stores and people.
Close to the sea there is a wide promenade filled with benches, cafes and tavernas overlooking the sea.
In some streets, such as the famous Omonia, parallel to the coast at the port there is a large number of branded shops and boutiques of clothing and footwear. Kavala is an expensive city, and the locals have a very high standard so in Kavala there is no possibility to buy cheap clothes.
Look at the map where they are the main shopping streets.
Only on Saturdays, on the open market, you can often buy high-quality clothes cheaply. On this map in the upper right corner you can see the market location, and if you click on the arrow in the top corner you will receive a larger map.
Kavala is known for its beautiful beaches. If you are located here in the summer, in just a few minutes drive east or west you can reach a very nice beaches, usually blue flag bearers.
Kavala has a long promenade, a nice, small harbor, beautiful sunsets, nice restaurants and taverns by the sea, and benches to enjoy. What is characteristic for it is a blend of modern and traditional. Coming in Kavala first thing you notice are the modern buildings on one side of the city and a huge Byzantine fortress on the hill on the other side. Should you go into town again, you will see narrow streets, pavement, colorful houses, aqueduct and monuments of past centuries, and the other a broad promenade and bustling modern city.
When you go strait from the dock, after a few hundred meters you will see a left turn uphill via narrow street with a sign and inscription Panagia. This alley is in fact the way to the old city of Kavala, called Panagia (Virgin Mary). Car can go up the street, but after only 300-400m streets become too narrow. Our advice is that if you are even a little fit, park your car near the port and then take to the Panagia on foot all the way to the fort.
You will enjoy the narrow, steep streets, beautiful colorful houses with beautiful facades in the Ottoman style, beautiful balconies full of flowers, and so on all the way up to the fortress.
If you get tired stop by the beautiful cafe called Brik with magnificent, panoramic views of the entire city. It would be nice if you're lucky and run into available outdoor table on the terrace.
After the break with a fine beverage, you can continue walking to the square of Muhammad Ali, founder of the last Egyptian dynasty. In the square there is a statue next to the house where he lived, which is now a museum.
Walk through the street of Muhammad Ali leads to the oldest part of the city where the Hussein-Bey's Mosque is located, also known as Mosque of Music. In the same street, just a little lower, there is a Imaret - impressive building that was once a girls' school built by Muhammad Ali as a gift to his native place, and today has been converted into a luxury hotel. Each space and room is lavishly decorated, the whole hotel is reminiscent of a museum, and there are guides for the rooms in the hotel, as well as a very nice garden with three outdoor pools.
During our last stay, we learned that ordinary visitors are not allowed to take a look inside the hotel anymore.
Climbing up the narrow streets to the castle you can visit the Church of the Virgin, look at the lighthouse of the city, visit the Halil-Bey complex with the madrasa and the mosque which was built on the foundations of the Christian Church.
Finally you get to the fort, a symbol of Kavala from the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, built on the ruins of the Byzantine acropolis. It was used to defend against the enemy, and today is a place to relax and walk around. It is now in open theater for various cultural events. You can and should climb to the tower where you can see the Kavala which really takes your breath away. If you are lucky you may happen to be alone in the tower so you can enjoy as we did in beautiful view, clean air and the breeze and thinking about the weather, about the transience of life and beauty. With a heavy heart you come down from the tower and back into reality.
After you get off the tower, by stairs and steep streets you come back to the modern city. At the exit of the Panagia you'll see the right side of Aqueduct, part of a former water system, which now looks like a big gate to the old town. Aquadukt raised Suleiman the Magnificent.
In Kavala, you can visit several impressive churches, church dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, the Holy Prophet Elijah, St. Nicholas and St. John.
But what makes Kavala most interesting for tourists are sandy, clean beaches and the azure blue waters, which extend to 80 km around the city.
The most famous beach in Kavala are Rapsani that is closest to the center of town, then Kalamitsi, Batis, Palio, Tosca, and further away are Nea Iraklika, beautiful Peramos Nea Paralia Ofriniou and one of the most beautiful beaches in the north of Greece - Ammolofi.